NIGERIA- Premium Motor Spirit, popularly known as petrol, will continue to have disparate pump prices due to the incomplete delivery of products to many filling stations, oil marketers said on Tuesday.
There has been a lopsided pattern in PMS distribution lately, according to traders, which will result in scarcity and worsen price disparities in retail outlets, according to the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria.
Through its NNPC Retail subsidiary, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited had not delivered the exact number of trucks of fuel intended for independent marketers, our correspondent learned.
“Here in Port Harcourt, for instance, we have Oando and NNPC Retail, and they have products in some private depots. Master Energy and Liquid Bulk also have products, but there is no volume for independent marketers,” the National Public Relations Officer, IPMAN, Chief Ukadike Chinedu, stated.
He added, “Independent marketers have no volume in all these depots and we have over 3,400 tickets lying and waiting at the NNPC Retail account. This new system is now making independent marketers beg for petroleum products from NNPC Retail.”
“It is until NNPC Retail has finished loading products to its own outlets that before it would now attend to independent marketers. It has made the independent marketers the third tier in terms of the bulk distribution of petroleum products, which is very incorrect.”
It is estimated that independent marketers operate 80 percent of the filling stations nationwide, both in remote villages and in more populated areas.
Ukadike explained that the recent lopsidedness in product distribution by NNPC Retail is causing price disparity, noting that “we are now forced to go and buy products from retailers and some of these tank farm owners at a very exorbitant price.”
Debo Ahmed, IPMAN’s National President, also expressed concerns about the situation at private depots (coastal depots).
He said operators in the downstream oil sector “must do something right now to rebuild the faith of independent marketers, especially in the Port Harcourt coastal depots.”
Ahmed’s remarks, which were forwarded to the association’s PRO, stated in part: “In the second week of February, a vessel discharged about 28 million liters (622 trucks) of PMS at the TSL depot (Oando).
“A 162-trucks programme was released for IPMAN, which was about 7.3 million litres. Out of the 162-trucks programme given to us, we struggled to load less than 100 trucks. About 62 tickets are still there waiting for the next vessel.”
“In the last week of February, another vessel discharged 13 million litres (288 trucks) of PMS at Liquid Bulk. Only a 56-trucks programme was released for IPMAN. We were all expecting the next programme, just to hear that the product finished last week.”
Additionally, he stated that Master Energy received a shipment of 13 million liters (288 trucks) last week.
“As of this moment, IPMAN has not received any programme for that product. Another vessel will discharge at TSL. IPMAN, what’s our fate?” the association’s president stated.
He added, “This is the right time to toss away the crutches of comfort and restore the hope and expectations of all independent marketers. Is important we start our protest as soon as possible.
“This is important so that Nigeria will know what is going on with us and the new retail. The lopsided distribution pattern will continue to cause scarcity and price disparity in retail outlets.”
Garba-Deen Muhammad, Chief Corporate Communications Officer of NNPCL, requested to be contacted by WhatsApp when contacted for comments. As of the date of filing of this report, he had not responded.